Monday Watercooler

Kitten playing with a pipe cleaner

This kitten won’t BLOW YOUR MIND, but it is awfully cute!

“This VIDEO will BLOW YOUR MIND and be the BEST PART OF YOUR DAY!” At least, that’s what Glove and Boots called tonight’s video selection. It’s about clickbait, of course, and offers a good reason why you should share an informative Firedoglake article with your friends rather than another listicle.

I’ve been camping a couple times recently, and I love going out in the woods. But sleeping, whether on an air mattress or a camping mat, can leave a lot to be desired. Sploid reports on a new touch-proof material which can make objects it covers seem to “disappear.”

Just a thin layer of this amazing polymer will hide anything under it from being perceived by your sense of touch. […] According to the the scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, this ‘crystalline material structured with sub-micrometer accuracy […] consists of needle-shaped cones, whose tips meet.’ It perfectly adapts and absorbs the shape of anything under it.

[…] Not only your finger won’t be able to detect it, but a force feedback measurement instrument will fail too. According to Tiemo Bückmann, the lead scientists in the project, ‘it is like in Hans-Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about the princess and the pea. The princess feels the pea in spite of the mattresses. When using our new material, however, one mattress would be sufficient for the princess to sleep well.’

What does this mean in real life?

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology claims that the material was developed for purely experimental purposes, ‘but might open up the door to interesting applications in a few years from now, as it allows for producing materials with freely selectable mechanical properties. Examples are very thin, light, and still comfortable camping mattresses or carpets hiding cables and pipelines below.’

Bonus: Don’t try this at home? For Orange Is the New Black fans, learn how it’s possible to make a “Litchfield lighter.”

Housekeeping notes:

The Watercooler is an open conversation. Ask questions, share some links, and tell me about your weekend!

Photo by Pen Waggener released under a Creative Commons license.

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